Pelosi’s Hopeful Successor Stays Quiet on the Stock Trading Front

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Right now, she’s the 4th ranking Democrat in the United States House. But Representative Katherine Clark has her eye on Pelosi’s number one seat as Speaker of the House. The biggest issue for Clark that could be standing in her way is a little thing like violating the STOCK Act by wrongly disclosing the trades done by her and her husband.

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark broke a federal financial conflicts-of-interest and transparency law months ago. She violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. But since that became public knowledge, Clark and her husband have stopped trading on the market.

Congress has been holding debates on whether they should ban lawmakers from stock trading completely.

Clark is a Democrat from Massachusetts and is a likely successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to federal records, the Clark couple last disclosed stock trades in September of 2021. The focus on those trades had to do with Clark’s husband, Rodney Dowell. He unloaded over 24 stocks with shares coming from PepsiCo, Starbucks, Visa, and Google.

The problem was that these stocks were dumped just three weeks after it was reported in the media that the couple did not properly disclose previous stock trades that were worth roughly $285,000.

Before Clark and her husband were under the spotlight, they traded stocks regularly, but since it became public, they have only invested their money in United States Treasury notes. They have purchased somewhere between $450,000 and $1 million worth of these notes.

It seems clear that the drastic change in Clark’s practices is tied to the debate on Capitol Hill as to whether it should be legal for lawmakers and their spouses to trade personal stocks at all.

The Committee on House Administration that has held a public hearing on this issue in April of 2022. Lawmakers are working to bring together several bills into one piece of legislation that the House can vote on.

The report in the media came from “Insider.” They published a project called “Conflicted Congress” in December of 2021. It revealed that at least 60 members of Congress, along with 182 high-ranking congressional staffers actually violated the STOCK Act.

Elana Ross wrote in “Insider,” “Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark continues to make every effort to fully and transparently comply with all financial disclosure requirements of members of Congress.” The office of Rep. Clark would not comment when questioned about the report and did not answer whether she supports a ban on Congress and their spouses trading stocks.

Clark is not the only member of Congress trying to tip-toe around this issue since December. Both Rep. Peter Welch from Vermont and Rep. Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey have made changes to their trading behavior. Welch had a long history in the stock market but vowed to stop trading individual stocks, and Gottheimer announced that he would put his stock assets in a “qualified blind trust.” This requires congressional approval and gives authority over the trust to an independent trustee. But as of this week, the blind trust has not been established, according to congressional records.

“Insider” created an analysis of federal disclosers and found that just over half (55%) of the members of Congress did not report owning or trading individual stocks in the 2020 annual disclosures. Instead, these lawmakers chose more conservative investments like mutual funds or government bonds. Some even just kept their money in savings accounts.

But that left a whole group of legislators who were actively trading individual stocks. Some members of Congress or their spouses were making up to hundreds of stock trades each year, according to the congressional records.

Rep. Katherine Clark is likely to keep things very quiet as she tries to make her way into Pelosi’s seat.